Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release: December 18th 2012
Genre: Dystopia, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Darkest Minds trilogy
Sequels: Never Fade (#2), In The Afterlight (#3)


When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.


Hooooooly moly.

This book just blew my mind. Wow. Can I have the sequel, like, right now? Please.

The book started out a little confusing, because we are actually in Ruby's past, and she was describing her early years, before her tenth birthday, and later about an incident concerning her best friend at their rehabilitation camps. But after those few chapters, the action starts in the present. And from that point on, I was completely hooked. I tore through this in one sitting and as I came closer to the 400 page mark, I was constantly checking how much pages I had left because I didn't want this to end.

The plot wasn't that interesting to me, but I had heard only good things about this book, so I just blindly picked it up without knowing anything about it, really. But, I do like the concept — Kids with paranormal powers, like Telekinesis and Super Intelligence. I'm on board with this. I really liked where the author was going with her idea, and how Bracken backed all this up with this IAAN virus. It didn't seem too far-fetched, and I love me a story with a reasonable backstory. 

Anyways, there were a lot of things happening. This book was always in motion, always moving forward, and I loved that. It drags you with it, if you want to or not, and I couldn't help turning page after page. 

What I absolutely loved was the strong cast of characters. It reminded me a bit of Shadow & Bone, really, the love triangle did, at least. I don't want to get into this, because it'd get a bit into the spoilery area otherwise, but S&B fans know what to expect of that triangle now. And let me just say, I loved the romance. Not too rushed, not too urgent and melodramatic, not too mushy, but really just perfect. Very cute and fluffy, and not too heavy, also, it wasn't a major part of the plot, fortunately. And both the romances were really well written, I have to admit that I don't know which guy I'm rooting for right now. Sorry not sorry. 

Anyway, I was talking about characters. Ruby irritated me a little bit in the beginning, because she was so whiny about herself and her abilities and didn't have one ounce of confidence. But she got better very soon, and later she was fairly kickass, so by the end of the novel, I definitely loved her. She developed very, very much during just this first book, so I am very looking forward to seeing her evolution throughout the next installments. Liam wasn't the dark, mysterious, brooding guy, but the nice boy-next-door type with a huge heart and empathy and just the type any girl really wants to marry. He was still ambitious about the things he cared about, and was able to feel emotions such as anger and fury, despite his softness, and I liked that so much about him — his diversity. Liam was just an alive character. The other guy is the opposite of him, and I'm not going to say his name, because that's, again, a bit spoilery, I think. Although, I saw the plot twist involving him coming from a mile away, I have to admit that. He was the dark and mysterious type, but he, too, had a gentleness about him that I grew to adore, and I actually felt the connection between him and Ruby, the desperateness, credit to Bracken's skill to bring that across the pages so smoothly.
Chubs was brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. He slowly crawls into your heart without you noticing it, until one moment, you do notice, and you just really feel with him and understand him and love him unconditionally. Suzume was sweet and her childish innocence was very admirable, I really hope the story has a nice happy ending for her.

But, what amazed me about the novel was actually the relationship between the characters and their dynamics. How their relationships grew and evolved and how they behaved around and treated each other. It was so nice to follow all that, their developing cameraderie and loyalty — that was so well written and vividly displayed, I as the reader even felt like I was part of their group and friends with them. It was beautiful.

The writing was extremely nice to read, the descriptions nicely done and created lively images in my mind. I had no trouble imagining everything up to the simplest details. I adore Bracken's writing style.

And that ending, oh god. Oh my god. Why? Why? It left me heartbroken. You cannot just do this. No. 

So all in all, a great, amazing read that will sweep you off your feet. I can absolutely, definitely recommend you to read this, even if the premise might not grip you immediately — the characters will, surely. I am impatiently awaiting the release of the sequel.

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